Appeal Filed Over Balboa Reservoir Development Project’s Environmental Impact Report

An aerial view of the San Francisco Public Utility Commission-owned Balboa Reservoir.

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — Public Lands for Public Good, a group of City College of San Francisco stakeholders, announced on July 21 that its appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of the 1,100-unit Balboa Reservoir development project’s environmental impact report will go before the Board of Supervisors in August.

“There is no reason to rush through the approval of a project that would have been highly flawed and suspect even before the deep game-change of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to analyze its future effects,” according to a news release from the group. “This is not the time for any project to go forward that will all but destroy the access for 70,000 college students, most of them from working class, immigrant, black or brown communities.”

Attorney Stuart Flashman filed the appeal of the certification of the environmental impact report on June 19 for former and current City College faculty Alvin Ja, Wynd Kaufmyn and Madeline Mueller.

The group alleges that the California Environmental Quality Act is violated because the EIR does not accurately describe the project area; analyze the impact of construction on City College; clearly define affordable housing commitments; identify and mitigate noise, air quality, transit delay, pedestrian and bicyclist safety impacts; include affordable housing configuration alternatives; and contend with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kaufmyn and Jean Barish further outlined their opposition to the proposal in a July 21 opinion piece in the San Francisco Examiner.

The Planning Commission approved the environmental impact report in May. Next week, the project  moves forward to the Board of SupervisorsLand Use and Transportation Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee. 

City College’s administrators and elected trustees are drafting a memorandum of understanding governing the relationship between the housing development and the college.

Southside Forward, formerly named Balboa Park Urbanists, has a petition in support of the project. A member wrote an opinion article countering Barish and Kaufmyn’s.

“You cannot approve a project based on a defective EIR,” Flashman told the San Francisco Examiner. “You’re buying a pig in a poke.”

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